The Scatter of Death

ibuki kunai

 

This is my first piece after the elemental series. So came up with one of Street Fighter’s resident ninja school girl, Ibuki performing her trademark move – Kasumi Suzaku

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Now, if I do this, I think I can jump across…

I have a problem…

These days, whenever I see a tall building such as this…

City Hall, singapore, parliament house, supreme court

I feel like I could scale them with just my bare hands and legs.

If you don’t think that’s a problem, you probably need to rethink it to live to a ripe old age like me (28).

That’s probably the highest praise I can give to Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed.

Assassins Creed, Altair

Ok, highest praise beside “I have completed the game”.

You see, I’ve not played a game from start to end since… Star Wars: Unleashed on my Wii. The last game that came close was Fallout 3. But I chickened out of it when I hit the final stage of playable missions because I read that it would end the game. Yeah… I am confused by that statement as well… after I completely uninstalled the game from my computer. You know, there are just some things you don’t want to end….

It is hard for me to spend so much time on a game these days because of The Job, but Assassin’s Creed really blew me away. I know, I know, it is a relatively old game (by gaming standards), but it’s just a game I never got round to playing. There’s also the fact that my system is (again, by geek standards) relatively old and probably couldn’t stand the test of playing the newer games.

xkcd, half life 2, portal, cutting edge

Even so, I have to set my graphic settings to medium, and even then there are places where the frame rate does not jump as well. Having said that, the graphics, at medium setting already, pardon the French, De Kick le Ass!

The 3 historical cities of Jerusalem, Damascus, and Acre are gorgeously rendered. Every brick and every tile (2 objects you’ll see a LOT of) in the sprawling cities look so real, you’ll wonder if they took a time machine and went back in time to take photos… which would be easier than actually recreating them in 3D.

In the big picture, I suppose the modeling of the buildings is the easier part of the job, because every city (and even the roads to the city) are populated by hundreds, if not thousands of relatively unique looking citizens. Of course, after a while, you’ll be able to differentiate the citizens into various classes and how they will be bothering you during the gameplay, but it is an incredible feat nontheless.

So what do you do in such lovely looking cities? Why? Among other things you’ll scale the walls and chimneys to reach vantage points, fling archers off rooftops, silently assassinate guards with the blade hidden in your sleeves, and engage in rooftop chases with the local law enforcers, of course. It’s Medievel Parkour with a friggin nasty blade.

Which brings us back to my problem. The actions are so fluid and Altair (the game’s sortof protagonist) makes the actions look so simple and effortless that you would want to attempt it yourself. Also, the sandbox world, besides looking pretty, also feels surprisingly real in the sense that for a game where a “Leap of Faith” is the normal mode of getting off the pinnacles of church towers, there are no artificial elements such as a big red spot saying “JUMP HERE!!”. You just have to trust that there is a bale of hay at the bottom to break your fall.

That is why beside the relatively adult theme and the huge amount of blood that would be shed throughout the game, this is definitely not a game for impressionable kids. I am surprised that the Girlfriend has not snatched it from me yet. It does help that she is a few continents away.

It’s definitely not a perfect game. The sidequests are almost mind numbingly repetitive. After you’ve saved 1 citizen from being bullied, you’ve saved them all. It kinda remind me of the console’s Spiderman series of games, only that you are parkouring instead of webslinging through an open city. But still, the visuals are so great you won’t mind having to climb near to 100 towers (I’ve counted) to reach the various vantage points. Beside needing to do so to open up hints for the quests, you’ll want to climb them just to see the view from the top.

What the side quests lack in complexity, the storyline made up, with extra salt and pepper and a whole leg of lamb thrown in. The twists in the main story are not entirely cerebral burning, but the ending will leave you confused, and even a little bit angry because it makes no sense at all…. yet.

Apparently Assassin’s Creed is conceived as a trilogy (strange how everyone is doing it after George Lucas did it with the Star Wars Tri.. I mean Nine-nology) so the coming sequels will answered all questions. This first one was supposed to set the stage for the upcoming sequels. We shall see… which probably be what Ubisoft wants anyway because even now I am eagerly waiting for the sequel… especially after seeing the awesome trailer below.  Ijust hope I don’t have to wait for a year plus before I can play it.

All in all, it’s a game worth playing if only just to ogle at the breathtaking landscapes and architectures. The stunning visuals will make you forget that you are repeatedly doing the same button pushing to accomplish the same side quests over and over again. And the ending while infuriating will make you sigh with relief… “at least this is not the last I will see of the game”.

Yup, pretty things do that to people. Just ask the guys I saw at the club the other night buying drinks after drinks to the nubile young things parading by.